‘Globalization refers to an international community influenced by technological development and economic, political, and military interests. It is characterised by a worldwide increase in interdependence, interactivity, interconnectedness, and the virtually instantaneous exchange of information”.
“Globalisation could lead to the homogenization of world cultures, or to hybridization and multiculturalism’(O’Shaughnessy, 2012).
Above is a well-defined definition of the ever evolving concept of Globalization. A concept which has divided scholars in answering the following question. Is Globalization a positive or a negative?. O’Shaughnessy discuss the two views of globalisation, Utopian, and Dystopian. In regards to Utopian O’Shaughnessy discuss Marshall McLuhan’s theory of the global village in which the “media transcends the nation-state democratising process that gives everyone’s voice a chance to be heard and enables information to be freely shared”(O’Shaughnessy, 2012).
In terms of globalisation of media and communication, the utopian view sees the spreading of information as empowering, educational. It further instils a potent sense of democracy and equality in the community. Such technology as mobile phones and the internet have contributed greatly to make people voice heard e.g Twitter.
However, Arjun Appadurai a social-cultural anthropologist disagrees with the positive implications of the global village. Appadurai states “each time we are tempted to speak of the global village, we must be reminded that media creates communities with no sense of place”(Appadurai, 1996). Furthermore, he states that we live in a world which calls for “theories of rootlessness, alienation and psychological distance”(Appadurai, 1996).
Manuel Castells also is opposed the global village by stating “we are not living in a global village, but in customised cottages globally produced and locally distributed”(Castells, 2000). This statement is in reference to dystopian aspects of globalisation, that being mass production and homogenisation. Economically, it was revealed by the 2005 United Nations Human Development that the top 50 richest people in the world have more income than 416 million of the poorest people in the world. The gap between upper and lower classes have been increased due to big companies using cheap resources and employment in low socio-economic nations (O’Shaughnessy, 2012).
Another negative aspect of globalisation is the concept of cultural imperialism. Cultural imperialism refers to “Imperial domination of the world maintained partly through the dissemination of cultural products”( O’Shaughnessy, 2012). One example includes Hollywood and US pop culture mass producing products to the globe. A number of scholars have commented on this topic in regards to western cultures. One includes Josh Thompson who has stated that ” trans-national corporations who collaborate with western political and military interests” which create a process that results in a “new form of dependency in which traditional cultures are destroyed through the intrusion of western values” (Thompson, 1995). One historic example is McDonalds, which is an American company which mass produces a western style of food. In 2015, the company has 22,266 in international locations.
- O’Shaughnessy, Michael 2012, ‘Globalisation’, in Media and society, 5th ed, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Vic, pp. 458-471
- Appadurai, Arjun 1996, Modernity at large : cultural dimensions of globalization, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, Minn.
- John Thompson, 1995. The Media and Modernity: A Social Theory of the Media. 0 Edition. Stanford University Press.